Christmas tree growers grapple with drought, future

Capital News Service
LANSING – Ken Prince, owner of KP Tree and Nursery in Allendale, is one of many Christmas tree growers in the state who faces a potential business crisis because of last summer’s drought. “Drought was bad for planting new trees,” Prince said. “We are going to ramp up the planting by 30 percent to make up our loss from the drought.”
He said the loss is hard to measure. “We will only see the loss in eight to nine years because we probably won’t have enough trees at that time.”

“The real impact is not about this year’s trees,” said Bert Cregg, a Michigan State University horticulture professor. He said Christmas trees need eight to ten years to grow to marketable size so the impact will not appear at least until them.

Drought's impact on fall foliage tourism still unknown

Capital News Service
LANSING – Will a drought-shortened color season blunt the impact of Great Lakes fall tourism? Stress induced by the dry summer may have leaves starting to fall a week or so earlier than normal, said Bert Cregg, a professor at Michigan State University’s Department of Forestry. The truncated season has some tourism officials concerned. The fall colors attract a lot of visitors and money to the state, said George Zimmermann, vice president for Travel Michigan, a public-private partnership that encourages tourism. It is featured in the state’s promotional advertisements.